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Ketamine Infusions for Treatment-Resistant Pain

Around 20% of American adults live with chronic pain, and 8% have such severe pain that it interferes with their ability to function in their day-to-day lives. Chronic pain has such a wide range of potential causes that it can be challenging to diagnose and treat effectively. Too often, patients go through multiple treatment options without finding relief. If this sounds familiar, consider ketamine infusion therapy.

At Integrated Spine & Pain Care, in Farmingdale and Deer Park, New York, board-certified interventional pain medicine specialist Mikael Sarij, MD, and his team provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary approaches to treating chronic pain. As a leader in the field, Dr. Sarij offers ketamine infusion therapy to address treatment-resistant pain. 

What is ketamine infusion therapy?

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that has been used in surgical settings for decades. Recently, medical researchers have found that administering low doses of ketamine through infusions can help with chronic pain conditions, such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fibromyalgia, neuralgia, and more. 

Ketamine works differently in your brain than other pain relievers. It reduces pain by acting against the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in your nervous system. Your NMDA receptors are part of the network of nerves and receptors that send and receive pain signals. Ketamine blocks your NMDA receptors to reduce or eliminate the interpretation of pain. 

What to expect during ketamine infusion therapy

You’ll rest in a comfortable chair while Dr. Sarij inserts your IV and attaches your infusion. Infusions usually take around an hour, and Dr. Sarij or a member of the clinical team will stay with you throughout your treatment.

Some patients drift off to sleep while others have temporary tingling or floating sensations. Recovery time after an infusion is about 30 minutes at the office.

What to expect after a ketamine infusion

After your recovery period, you’ll be free to leave, although a friend or family member must drive you home. Ketamine can leave you feeling tired or disoriented. However, you should feel normal and able to return to your regular activities after a night of sleep. 

Some patients experience side effects, including:

In most cases, side effects subside within a few hours and are completely gone after 12 hours. 

While many patients have a noticeable reduction in pain within hours after a ketamine IV infusion, we usually recommend a series of infusions to effectively address chronic pain.

Candidates for ketamine infusion therapy

While ketamine therapy shows promising results for many patients with chronic pain, it’s not appropriate for everyone. We don’t recommend ketamine infusions if you have any of the following conditions:

Some health conditions, such as poor liver function, a history of substance abuse, or high levels of thyroid hormones, can increase your risk of ketamine-related complications. Be sure to talk to Dr. Sarij about your family and personal medical history during your consultation.

You don’t have to put up with chronic, debilitating pain. If you haven’t found the right approach for your treatment-resistant pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrated Spine & Pain Care today.

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